While we look forward to the U.S. Labor Day weekend, the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant has complicated a lot of late-summer plans. With cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise, minor changes to your holiday plans may help protect you and those around you. Whether you're meeting up with friends and family locally or have travel plans, here's what you can do to take extra precautions.
Stay home if you feel sick
While messaging about COVID-19 mitigation continues to shift as the pandemic quickly evolves, one message has remained constant—if you're feeling sick, stay home and consider getting a COVID-19 test.
Spend time outdoors rather than indoors
Outdoor gatherings are the safer option when it comes to spending time with folks outside of your household, unvaccinated individuals or those who are immunocompromised. If you cannot remain at least six feet apart from others while outdoors, the CDC encourages mask-wearing for extra protection.
Bring a mask with you wherever you go
Be mindful of local and state guidelines—including mask mandates. Mask mandates or recommendations vary across the country and even business to business. In accordance with the CDC's recommendations for universal masking indoors, it's best to come prepared with a mask or two wherever you go over the weekend, especially in areas with high transmission rates. Once masks get dirty, or "wet" from a long period of use, they become less effective in their protection power.
Check state and local guidelines before traveling
Before making plans, double-check any travel restrictions or visitor guidelines including but not limited to mask mandates, testing or quarantine guidelines or requirements.
Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes
We now know that the risk of becoming infected through contact with surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is generally low—however, it's not a bad idea use hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes when you cannot regularly wash your hands.